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I've recently moved to London and brought some foreign currency (namely, US dollars) in cash with me. What would be the best place to exchange these for pounds?

I'll open a bank account soon, but I'm not sure if banks here provide good exchange rates (this is definitely not the case in my home country). In addition, I've heard many exchange offices charge very high commission, so I was wondering what's the "standard practice" here (e.g. is there a website that compares exchange rates that would allow me to find the best option)?

  • This might be better on Travel.SE - lots of questions there on (cash) money exchanging – Gagravarr Oct 4 '15 at 13:37
  • I had that idea originally, but this fits better here - when you're a traveller, your options are much more limited (mostly in terms of time and the fact you don't have a bank account in that country), which is not the case here. – fstanis Oct 4 '15 at 13:58
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    Your simplest option is to find someone you know who's going to the USA, and sell them the dollars for pounds (cash/bank transfer) at spot rate, and you both win! Nothing else will get you close to that rate – Gagravarr Oct 4 '15 at 14:00
  • I usually use the services of thomasexchange.co.uk, although mostly to convert away from GBP – SztupY Dec 6 '15 at 1:44
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Use a foreign exchange comparison site such as http://travelmoney.moneysavingexpert.com/holiday-money/ (Select the Buyback link for foreign currency to UK pounds transactions).

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Just as a baseline: In a department store (Debenhams) the exchange rate now is $1.4715 to sell and $1.6252 to buy right now, which means exchanging pounds to dollars and back gets you 90.5% of your money back, without any effort. I believe their selling rate is decent (because they have lots of competitors), but their buying rate is awful (because the customers are usually people with foreign money left over from a holiday and no use for it), even your bank will likely pay you more. For much better buying rates see for example

http://www.bankexchangerates.co.uk/2012/03/barclays-exchange-rates.html

protected by Community Jun 10 '16 at 11:32

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